This and the following sections adapted with permission from the IU Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct
The Indiana University Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct defines academic misconduct any activity that tends to undermine the academic integrity of the institution . . . Academic misconduct may involve human, hard-copy, or electronic resources . . . Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to . . . cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, interference, violation of course rules, and facilitating academic misconduct. (II. G.1-6).
Within this shared enterprise, instructors have another responsibility, that of making certain students can function in an atmosphere free of academic dishonesty. Students need to know that if they work honestly, they will not suffer because of those who do not. Challenging a student you think may have cheated or plagiarized is not pleasant. If you feel uncomfortable in this area of responsibility, a thoughtful discussion of the topic on pages 95-99 in McKeachies (1994) Teaching Tips, as well as chapter 13, Situations, in Ebles (1976) The Craft of Teaching, may be helpful. University policy states that the faculty member may assign an academic penalty for academic misconduct, and that the faculty member must report all cases of academic misconduct to university officials. (Procedures for Bloomington Campus, II. A.1. pp.16-18).
AIs: If you have ample reason to suspect a student of misconduct, share the evidence with your supervising instructor or department head or director before acting.
Be as positive as you can of the facts before questioning the student(s), since academic misconduct can lead to serious sanctions. According to the seriousness of the offense and any prior disciplinary history, the Dean of Students in consultation with the student's academic dean may add to any grade penalties that you may have imposed. Dean of Students sanctions may range from disciplinary probation to expulsion from the university. Even the suggestion of responsibility for academic misconduct is upsetting to students, particularly if they are innocent. The specific procedures for reporting academic misconduct are found in Part II A. (pp. 16-21) of the Procedures for Bloomington Campus, a document that can be found at http://www.iu.edu/~code/code/procedures/index.shtml.
Preventing the possibility of misconduct is always better than coping with the consequences. The Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning has a handout that contains some ideas on how to reduce cheating in your classes.
Cheating and Facilitating Academic Misconduct
According to the IU Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct, cheating is an attempt to use or provide unauthorized assistance, materials, information, or study aids in any form and in any academic exercise or environment (p. 7). Egregious examples of cheating include having a substitute take a test, buying a term paper, or altering ones grade. It is also an offense to knowingly help another student to cheat. While collaborative learning is often encouraged, working with others on projects explicitly assigned as individual is a form of cheating. It is therefore important to clarify for studentsin writinghow you want students to collaborate, and what the limits of collaboration are.
A student must not falsify or invent any information or data in an academic exercise. (p. 8). Cooking the data is not an acceptable practice. Neither is inventing sources for a research project. Fiction should be limited to creative writing classes.
Even after several semesters at IU, many students will not fully understand what plagiarism is. To plagiarize is to present ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another person without acknowledgment; i.e., to steal or pass off, in whole or in part, the work of another person as ones own (IU Code, 8). Plagiarism should be defined for the students at the beginning of each course. It is also a good idea to provide some examples of plagiarized statements, and some models for citing sources properly. The appropriate use of sources can be presented in lecture in which you give careful credit for ideas, making a point of calling their attention to what you have done. Writing Tutorial Services (WTS) office in Ballantine Hall 206 has very helpful pamphlets that you might use and talk about in class.
The CITL Writing Program has suggestions for designing writing assignments that discourage plagiarism, and the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning support plagiarism
Students must not only perform their own work ethically, they must not steal, change, destroy, or impede another students work (8). Through misplaced thrift or sheer laziness, students often rip pages from journals in our libraries. This defacement, though not necessarily aimed at impeding specific other students, has that result and must be strongly discouraged.
Contacting the Office of Student Ethics and Anti-Harassment Programs
Anyone who wishes clarification regarding the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct or who wishes to file a complaint against a student in regard to either personal or academic misconduct may do so by contacting the Office of Student Ethics and Anti-Harassment Programs, 705 E. Seventh Street, 855-5419.
The following links will take you to small additional readings associated with this general section.
- IU's Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct.
- Academic misconduct report form.
- Academic misconduct information for faculty and students. The College.
- Academic Dishonesty Prevention and Detection Strategies.
- What is Plagiarism at IU?. A short concept lesson by Ted Frick.
- How to Recognize Plagiarism.